Calculate your chances...negative...negative...negative!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Fair Use for Me, not for Thee.

According to the EFF, John McCain is getting a bunch of frivolous DMCA take down notices for YouTube videos from media corporations such as Fox and the Christian Broadcasting Company. A few weeks ago, the Obama camp was getting the same from NBC. The McCain campaign is claiming fair use, but the rights holders and YouTube don't seem to agree agree.

All politics aside, I'm glad to see the issue of fair use is finally starting to affect the people who could actually do something about it. I've long thought the terms of the DMCA are overreaching and useful concepts like fair use and public domain are being thrown by the wayside in the rush to give the big media corporations more and more rights.

The irony is double considering just this week Bush signed into law the PRO-IP bill creating an Intellectual Property Czar and increasing penalties for allegedly illegal use of intellectual property. According to a letter of decent from the Department of Justice the bill includes provisions whereby "taxpayer-supported Department lawyers would pursue lawsuits for copyright holders, with monetary recovery going to industry." Yet another instance of the federal government stepping in and not only granting more rights to the big media companies, but even taking a stake in insuring those rights by going after alleged infringement violators.

I wonder if the fact that both campaigns were hit with these things, when it seems like the news clips used were likely falling under fair use, might mean that whoever wins the election will take a look at the insanity of the DMCA and the way things are done currently. A dancing baby video with music playing in the background getting yanked might not be enough to get anyone to pay attention, but perhaps both sides losing videos in an election season might make these politicians see the importance of protecting fair use. Or, as soon as the election is over, this is all forgotten, big content lobbies for more legislation, which they get, and the cycle begins again in four years.

Yeah, I know which one I'd bet on.

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